March 27th, 2009 |

Hostess Gift for Game Night

tiffany-cards-largeFor the Hostess that has everything!

Charming playing cards from Tiffany & Co.

March 26th, 2009 |

Party-Ready Appetizers

Today I am answering an email from a reader:

“Dear Hostess, Every time I go to a party or to a friend’s house for dinner, I feel like my friends always ask me to bring an appetizer.  I’m sick of my same old recipes!  I can’t make another Mexican layer dip or ‘pigs in a blanket’…..can you help me come up with some new ideas?”

Here you go….hope these inspire you!

9 New Appetizers (small)

Appetizers are the first taste of the party….they can be an indicator of what’s to come with the meal, but they can also be just a fun display of different tastes.  Here are some of my new favorites:

March 25th, 2009 |

Ladybug Birthday Party for your Little Lady!

Ladybug Party (small)

This smart little party idea will have you seeing spots–and a lot of smiles.  Decorate the front of your house with red balloons covered with black circle stickers, and greet each child at the door with her own set of antennae – made of a headband, pipe cleaners and Styrofoam balls.

lady-bug-dress-up

For a younger bunch of girls, it’s important to keep them busy with some games or activities.

  • Cut out a red bug out of posterboard and play “stick the spot on the ladybug”.
  • Have a jitterbug dance party – at this age, they won’t know the steps; just put on some music and let them make it up as they go.
  • Have them decorate bug catchers and run around the yard catching ladybugs and fireflies.

For birthday treats, serve up ladybug cupcakes and chocolate covered oreo lollipops!

There are tons of great ladybug toys and treats out there to fill up adorable goodie bags.  I found this cute stuff at Oriental Trading.

Ladybug Goodie Bags (small)

Images: lady bug (flickr.com), bug catcher (orientaltrading.com), polka dot dress (chasingfire-flies.com),ladybug cupcakes (flicr.com), bags of candy (amyatlas.com), ladybug costume (poshtots.com), lady bug goodie bag toys (orientaltrading.com)

March 25th, 2009 |

Ladybug Treats

lady-bug-chocolate-oreos1

These little bugs are easy to create and are sure to get rave reviews!

All you need are Oreo cookies, red and brown melting chocolate, lollipop sticks and 1/4″ icing eyes (all available at Country Kitchen Sweetart).

Pry apart the Oreo cookie and scoop out some of the frosting to place in the lollipop stick.  Press the cookie back together into a sandwich, and dip in the red, melted chocolate.  Place treats on a parchment-lined baking sheet into the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.  Then pipe the head (attach the icing eyes), dots and line in the center with the brown chocolate.  Return to the refrigerator to chill.

Here are a few more lady bug treats I found on flickr.com to inspire you:

lady-bug-treats1
March 24th, 2009 |

A Baby Boy Shower

When a baby boy is on the way, host a transportation themed baby shower full of bright shades of blue and green.

Set the theme for the party with this darling invitation covered in trucks by minted.com.  Welcome your guests and the mommy-to-be with a clean, modern space decorated with Spring-like centerpieces using freshly grown grass as your centerpieces.  The color palette and centerpiece ideas could be adorable for a birthday party too!Transportation Shower (small)

cb2-candlesticks

I love these clear glass candlesticks – available in 5 different shapes at cb2 – they are incredibly inexpensive, so go ahead and mix and match tons of them to use going down your table.

The use of grass can be used throughout your party – available at your local nursery or gardening store – you can fill a tray or container full of grass sod and use it in various ways.  Attach your placecards on candy sticks and “stick” them into the grass – or serve brownie pops as a dessert and stick them in standing upside down.  It will make such a cute presentation – your friends will be wowed by your creativity!

If you are looking for a modern way to set your table – try this idea:

Stack your plate, napkin and silverware on top of each other.  Wrap it with either a printed rubber band or ribbon.  No bow, no frills – just clean, but decorative.

As for food, carry your color story through by serving a fresh salad ( I love this avocado-citrus salad with bacon from Williams Sonoma), and then some fun desserts everyone can enjoy while your guest of honor is opening her gifts.

Transportation Shower Food (small)

In case you need a few gift ideas for the new baby boy…..these are sure to get some “oohs and ahhs” at the shower!Transportation Shower Gifts (small)

Images: truck invitation (minted.com), grass and rose centerpiece (projectwedding.com), placecards (brides.com), white plates (realsimple.com), rock candy napkin (theknot.com), table setting ( via bellemaison23), cotton candy and rock candy cupcakes (matthewmeadstyle.com), festive cocktails (brides.com), salad (williams-sonoma.com), baby bib (upsiedoodle via etsy.com), transportation bedding (modernnursery.com)

March 23rd, 2009 |

Lunch Date with a Friend

Lunch Date (small)

Everyone is always so cooped up inside during the Winter and early Spring months….invite a friend or two over for an quick lunch to catch up.

I’m looking forward to catching up with one of my good friends tomorrow!

Here is what I’m thinking about for lunch:

Chicken Panini with Fig Jam

Recipe via Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 1/4  cup  fig jam
  • 1  (8-ounce) ciabatta, cut lengthwise
  • 1/4  cup  crumbled blue cheese
  • 2  tablespoons  butter, softened
  • 8  ounces  sliced cooked chicken breast
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  cups  arugula leaves
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh lemon juice

Preparation

Spread jam over cut side of top half of bread. Combine cheese and butter in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Spread cheese mixture over cut side of bottom half of bread. Arrange chicken evenly over cheese mixture; sprinkle with pepper. Place top half of bread, jam side down, over chicken.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add sandwich to pan. Place a heavy cast-iron skillet on sandwich; cook 5 minutes or until both sides are browned, turning once.

Place arugula in a bowl. Drizzle juice over arugula; toss gently. Remove top bread half from sandwich. Arrange arugula mixture over chicken. Replace top bread half. Cut sandwich into 4 equal portions.

Images: kitchen (williams-sonoma.com), sandwich (cookinglight.com),

kitchen cabinets (via joeschmelzer.com)

March 23rd, 2009 |

Keeping Flowers Fresh

fresh-flowers

1 To keep your flowers looking better and lasting longer, display them in a vase and make sure that none of the leaves are covered with water. Leaves decay in water, and they’ll drastically decrease the vase-life of your cut flowers.

2 First things first: When you bring flowers home, cut the stems at an angle and then place them in fresh water for a nice long drink before removing the wrapping.

3 When the water in a vase starts getting low, don’t dump it and start all over again. Flowers are at their happiest when you just top off the existing water by adding some that is fresh.

4 Decorating a buffet with flowers? Keep the flowers away from fruit – fruit gives off ethylene gas, which accelerates the aging process of flowers.

Tips via Style At Home

March 22nd, 2009 |

Spring Fashion III

Spring J Crew (small)

Images via J Crew

March 22nd, 2009 |

Spring Fashion II

Trina Turk (small)

Images via Trina Turk

March 22nd, 2009 |

Spring Fashions

Spring Kate Spade (small)

Images via Kate Spade

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